With five movies coming out this year – FIVE – Josh Hutcherson is shaping up to be the breakout star of 2012. He’s already a familiar face to movie buffs, having made his big screen debut at the age of 10 in the Oscar-nominated American Splendor. Since then he has proven himself to be one of the most versatile young actors in Hollywood. He’s balanced mainstream flicks like Bridge To Terabithia and Zathura with indie fare such as The Kids Are All Right and Winged Creatures. But he’s about to take on his biggest role yet.
The 19-year-old is starring as baker-turned-tribute Peeta Mellark in the highly anticipated The Hunger Games movie, based on Suzanne Collins’ best-selling dystopian series. If you’re not familiar with The Hunger Games story, firstly, check yourself before you wreck yourself. Secondly, get familiar with the intricacies of the plot here.
I was fortunate enough to interview Hutcherson earlier in the week when he visited Australia for the first time to promote his new flick Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. In preparation for the interview I put a call out on Twitter for fans to send me questions. And send them you did. My Twitter feed nearly crashed with all the suggestions and I sincerely thank all of you who tweeted me with great things you wanted to ask him and proclamations of love. The latter was unhelpful, but the former proves just how dedicated The Hunger Games fans are. Seriously, if my novel ever gets published I want a fanbase like you. Also, a movie deal.
Anyway, because there were so many questions – I couldn’t ask them all, sorry – and we covered so many topics, I’ve pondered for a while about how best to present this interview. The best way, I’ve decided, was to break it down into topics. Here it is - Josh Hutcherson talks The Hunger Games, the power of the individual and much, much more.
May the odds be ever in your favour.
Josh Hutcherson on what appealed to him about the character of Peeta:
“I never read a character I related to more, honestly. He has this idea that no matter what situation you’re in and where you are, you have to stay true to yourself and the values you stand by. That’s pretty much the moral I live my life by.”
On preparing for The Hunger Games fandom:
“It’s hard. I don’t know if anyone can prepare for that kind of thing. I’ve never been part of a project that had so much anticipation surrounding it before we even started filming. It brings added pressure, but at the same time it makes you strive to work better and harder. I think we’ve done a really good job on the film and I hope people like it, especially the fans. In fact, I know they will.”
On how The Hunger Games differs from your everyday blockbuster:
“It’s serious and darker, which makes it all that more important.” On working with Jennifer Lawrence:
“Jennifer is one of those people who can be herself in any situation and says what she wants. To meet someone as talented and beautiful as she is who’s like that is really refreshing.”
On reality television and its effect on society:
“I’m not a huge fan. I don’t watch a lot of TV in general and especially not the reality stuff. It’s interesting how people push themselves to the limit to get in front of the cameras. The idea they would push themselves to battle each other in a similar arena isn’t that much of a stretch.”
On stunt work and weapons training:
“In the beginning Peeta has a spear, but I get injured pretty early on so I don’t have to do too much of that.”
On The Hunger Games social commentary:
“The movie speaks a lot to the individual power of an individual and how a group of people can band together. Especially with what we’ve see at the moment with the 99 per cent fighting the 1 per cent in the Occupy Wall Street Movement, that’s very relevant. The Hunger Games series is an interesting commentary on that.”
On what strategy he would take if he had to compete in The Hunger Games:
“My family. I’d be driven like Katniss is and try to focus on getting back to my family and helping and supporting them.”
On being on board The Hunger Games sequels:
“For sure, as long as people come out and see the movie. I’m very excited about it. We need to make sure that people see the movie first before we get ahead of ourselves. But I’m really excited about it and where the story goes, especially for my character.”On working with Liam Hemsworth:
“Liam and I get on so well. He’s like my 6.4ft Australian brother. I’ve worked with both of the Hemsworths now because his brother Chris and I did Red Dawn together. I’m kind of an honourary Hemsworth.”
On his diverse body of work:
“That’s my main goal as actor. I want to try as many roles and movies as possible and tell as many different stories as I can. I’m lucky had the opportunity to do that so far.”
On the favourite role he’s played:
“Probably my character in The Kids Are All Right. I liked him a lot.”
On becoming famous:
“At the end of the day I’m the kind of person who does what I believe in and what I want to do. I think that’s a really important value to stick to.”
On crashing my Twitter feed: